For this project, we wanted to make something that was accessible and versatile, so we created a very basic box design that can act as a table, chair, stool and lamp. If you don’t have access to a wood shop (like us), it can be quite daunting to make furniture. With this in mind, we decided to laser cut pieces of wood because we found this process to be cheap and straightforward, since we had access to a makerspace through our school.
This project will require:
- A laser cutter
- 4 sheets of 24 by 48 1/2 inch plywood (we chose plywood that already had a finish on it because we wanted a smooth surface (and we did not have the resources to finish it ourselves), but raw, non finished is also a great look, just make sure to do a bit of sanding on each surface to keep the wood smooth.)
- 2 sheets of 1/8th inch acrylic at 24x36. The color for the acrylic is totally up to you! Have fun with it.
- Wood glue
- Any light with a cord (we simply took ours from an old lamp)
Step 1: Designing the Four Sides
- Open illustrator, and create an art board that is 24x48 in (size of the laser cutter bed)
- Follow the measurements in the illustration here to create your final design. Note that the indentations you see on each of the sides will be vital to holding the whole piece together, but if you are already familiar with how to make a box, you may add or remove teeth depending on your preferred aesthetic.
- Create one more file with 2 more copies of this same piece. So in total, you will have 1 side with an extra hole for the lamp cord, and the other three without. **You will only need one extra hole for the cord of your lamp to exit!
Step 2: Designing the Top + Bottom Pieces
- Open another artboard that is 24x48 in. Use the rectangle tool to create 2 boxes at 18x18 inches.
- Follow the measurements in this illustration to create these two pieces. They are exactly the same!
Step 3: Designing the Acrylic Circles
- Create one last artboard that is 24x36, and use the circle tool to create 2 circles each with a diameter of 12 inches. These should press fit into the holes on each side of the box, but to be safe, when you are laser cutting, you can cut a small circle and see how much kerf your laser cutter creates. With this knowledge, either make the circles a little bit bigger or smaller. If the piece is too big, you can just sand it down!
Step 4: Laser Cutting
- Make sure to do test cuts before you begin your actual cuts! Make sure all your files are in RGB, with lines that are all uniform and have a stroke of .001.
- To cut half an inch wood, make sure you slow the laser cutter down significantly and raise the cutting intensity. You may have to play around with settings. If you only have access to a smaller laser cutter, just split up your files to fit the size of the bed. If your laser cutter cannot cut 1/2 inch wood, no problem, you can just use thinner wood and glue multiple together, or edit the file to match a thinner wood.
Step 5: Cutting the Sides
- Laser cut the two files you created for the four sides (pictured here again). Note that all of these pieces are the same (aside from the cord hole on the first), you will just have to rotate two of them upside down to attach them together!
Step 6: Cutting the Top + Bottom Pieces
- Cut the file you used to create the top + bottom pieces twice (pictured here). These pieces will be cut twice because they will be subsequently stacked and glued to create a top and bottom that are each 1 inch in width, to match the length of the teeth at the tops and bottoms of each piece.
Step 7: Cutting the Circles
- Make sure your acrylic sheet is covered on both sides with tape or the initial sticker you bought it with, so that the laser cutter does not create burn marks on the actual plastic. Cut this file twice (pictured here).
Step 8: Gluing the Top + Bottom Pieces
- Glue the two top and the two bottom pieces together with wood glue, clamps are recommended. At the end of this process your top and bottom pieces should each be 1 inch thick (refer to the image).
Step 9: Gluing the Circles
- Use epoxy to glue the acrylic circles into the holes on each side of the box. Do not remove the tape from the plastic until after you finish gluing, so that the glue does not make marks on the actual plastic!
Step 10: Put ALL the Pieces Together!
- To put everything together, start with the bottom piece, then place your lamp atop this, and connect the 4 sides as well as the top, in whichever order you find easiest. Check out our assembly video for reference. You can then easily transform the table/stool into a chair by removing the back side and placing it in the empty hole on the seat. And switch the light on or off whenever you’d like! Note that in our video the bottom piece has a hole in it, but yours should not, this was a personal decision on our part.